Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity

Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity

by David J Kent


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Nikola Tesla was an eccentric genius who out-Edisoned Edison and out Marconied Marconi. Born of modest means in what is now Croatia and later becoming a naturalized American citizen, Tesla’s inventions include the alternating current (AC) that powers our homes today, radio, wireless transmission, X-rays, and the electrifying Tesla coil.  He even worked on development of direct energy weapons (death rays) and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. 

During his lifetime Tesla moved first to Paris, then to New York, and after a period of time in Colorado Springs back to New York City where he maintained two laboratories. Along the way he worked for Edison, then became his biggest rival, and formed friendships with such divergent personalities as George Westinghouse, Mark Twain, a pigeon, all while reflecting on a childhood cat.  His idiosyncrasies included an obsession with numbers divisible by three, ardent gambling, and a near-pathological fear of germs. He rarely slept more than a few hours at a time, often going days without rest.  While generally soft-spoken, he could be a consummate showman, often insisting that his Tesla coil be present while he lectured, seemingly shooting lightning bolts as he spoke. In the end he died alone and nearly penniless, having ceded perhaps billions of dollars in royalties to his friend George Westinghouse.

This illustrated book takes us through Tesla’s life, his experiments and contributions to science, and brings us into his complex mind.  Through ample use of his writings and interviews with the societies and inventors clubs that honor his name, we explore Tesla’s methods and discoveries, personality quirks, and his legacy for the modern world – both scientific and popular culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435142978
Publisher: Fall River Press
Publication date: 07/01/2013
Series: Illustrated Lives Series
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 189,623
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

David Kent has been a scientist for thirty years and has worked as a consultant in both the United States and Europe.  He is actively involved in and commonly speaks at regional, national, and international scientific organizations. He has served as president of regional chapters of both the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). He has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific articles and presentations for peer-reviewed journals, technical newsletters, and scientific meetings. In addition to his professional capacity he writes a series of blogs related to science, travel, and politics.

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Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Dabester More than 1 year ago
I am the author of this book, so obviously I think it is great. I hope you feel the same. The book is designed to appeal to general readers with a wide range of interests. Like thrilling personality insights? The book is chock full of interesting stories on Tesla from his “100-bug-powered” windmills as a youth to his practical jokes on Mark Twain in his heyday to his dispute with Einstein as he entered his twilight years. Into graphic novels? Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity includes many historical comics and photos to spotlight key events and figures in Tesla’s spectacular life. The book is an amazing visual experience. An invention buff? The book captures the prolific inventive mind of Nikola Tesla and how many of his inventions were so far ahead of their time that we are still today relying on his patents for new discoveries. Turned on by conflict and tension? Tesla’s life can be summed up by one of my chapter titles: “A Man Always at War.” Delve into the complex relationships he had with Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Guglielmo Marconi, J.P. Morgan, and others that were sometimes colleagues, and sometimes rivals. Prefer serious historical biography? Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity traces the great man’s life from his childhood in the military frontier, through his schooling and employment in the grand capitals of Europe, to his tumultuous, yet most productive, years in New York City, Colorado Springs, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Niagara Falls. In short, the book provides insights into a man who has been largely ignored by history despite his huge contributions to modern life. A man who over 100 years ago anticipated that one day we would all be carrying around hand-held devices capable of instant communication across vast distances. Who a century ago promoted and developed renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels. A man who left us a legacy that is just now being rediscovered by scientists, the public, and perhaps most ironically, pop culture. Join me in celebrating the life and legacy of Nikola Tesla. Spread the word. Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity is available exclusively at Barnes and Noble. The website of David J. Kent is called Science Traveler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A compulsive purchase yesterday at B&N and I am already on page 62. A great read, that moves quickly and keeps my interest. Hard to put it down. I will look for more of David Kent's writings. Credit also goes to Scott Russo for the visually appealing book design. This becomes a permanent addition to my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review: Tesla – The Wizard of Electricity © 2013 by David J. Kent Fall River Press ISBN 978-1-4351-4297-8 I enjoyed this biography of Nikola Tesla immensely. The title is a take-off on Thomas Edison’s sobriquet “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” The two men were rivals from the day they met, and in the most important way, Nikola Tesla won. He made much of life today possible, by making the long distance transport of electricity feasible. But in the eyes of history, Nikola Tesla became, for want of a better word, a wizard rather than a scientist. The first thing one notices about this book is the book. The visual treatment of the subject and the story is unique. At least a third of the page space in the book is taken up with excellent illustrations from publications of the day and excerpts of a comic book style “graphic biography” published in 1946 in “Real Heroes No. 16,” as well as “in his own words” comments and explanations from Tesla and others. Biographies of famous and important people are often timeline driven and dry. Not so “Tesla – The Wizard of Electricity.” The story is eminently accessible, and that makes its subject accessible. The biographical information is presented more in the form of watersheds than of timeline, making for a significant bit of overlap, but clarifying the important aspects of the life of the man Tesla. In this book, David Kent takes an easy reading style of writing to the mysteries that were Nikola Tesla, making for a truly fascinating read. In the process he humanizes the man who many of his own day, and in his own profession, dismissed as beyond eccentric, but a man who was also capable of astoundingly original inventive genius. As the author points out, Tesla, having alienated Thomas Edison and discouraged most of his financial backers, found himself at the age of eighty-two trying to debate Albert Einstein in the press on the latter’s “idle speculation and false conceptions” that led to Einstein’s Special and General Theories of Relativity. There is some question as to whether Einstein ever acknowledged the challenge. Had they ever met, Tesla would likely have been better prepared to hold a conversation with Merlin. At least they were both acknowledged wizards. Tesla suffered from at least two psychological disorders. He suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and he was also beset by the constant onslaught of apparitions, so much so that as a child he would ask his sister if she saw what he did. Later he channeled them into a way to view his imagined inventions in three-dimensions, as if they were projected in a hologram. Finally, because of his genius, and his constant harping on the military applications of some of his larger scale inventions, upon his death the federal government confiscated all his records and papers. As a consequence, Tesla’s death spawned enough conspiracy theories to fill volumes (and continues to do so). As a public service, Mr. Kent has disposed of a couple of the more egregious at the end of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had the privilege of reading a pre-publication copy of this wonderful book on Nikola Tesla. Mr. Tesla is one of the greatest inventors in history, yet many people have never heard of him. This book does a wonderful job of introducing this eccentric genius to the general public - his upbringing and talents, his ideas and inventions, his unique and weird personality, his life from start to finish. The well written fluid text combined with various photos and illustrations are very effective in bringing Tesla the person to life. I hardly knew anything about him when I started, and felt I really knew this fascinating person when I finished. The whole reading experience was highly enjoyable.  This book would be a perfect gift to anyone (especially the young generation) who is interested in science and scientists, inventions and modern technology. I can say without hesitation that Nikola Tesla, brought alive by this book, will inspire followers from all over the world for many years to come.
Sandra Rushlo More than 1 year ago
Mr. Kent explores Tesla in a unique way - as a sort of underdog who overcame his challenges not to seek fame or money, but simply for the love of science. This book presents Tesla's life from start to finish in an aesthetically-pleasing format that readers of any age will enjoy. Far from being too pedantic and dry, as many biographies are, David Kent's "Tesla" left me wishing for even more details and eager to learn more about his subject. The first book of Kent's that I've read blew me away - and I look forward to many more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amazing read,so ahead of his time... wonderfully illustrated. this man was a genius, right up there with einstein. truly a great book . highly recommend.